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Tokyo man responds to saddle theft ... by stealing 150+ himself

Akio Hatori told police: "I wanted other people to feel what I had gone through"...

A man in Japan who discovered that the saddle of his bicycle had been stolen had a rather unusual response – unable to find the thief, he amassed a collection of more than 100 saddles he had stolen himself, so that other bike owners could experience the same sense of loss he felt.

Sora News 24 reports that Akio Hatori, aged 61 and a resident of Tokyo’s Ota district, discovered his saddle had been stolen when he was heading out for a bike ride last summer.

He bought a replacement, and for most cyclists, that would have been the end of it – but not Hatori, who a couple of months later rather bizarrely set off on a saddle-stealing spree of his own.

Over the course of the past year, he built up a haul of 159 of them, in the process subjecting the cyclists who were his victims to the same emotions of anger, upset and loss that he himself felt after his bike had been targeted.

He was arrested this week by officers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department’s Kamata Precinct who were investigating the theft of a saddle in late August.

Hatori was identified through CCTV footage which showed him removing a saddle and putting it in the basket of his bike, and police discovered video of him riding around carrying other saddles in the same way.

A search of his home netted 159 saddles which police artfully lined up by colour at a press conference announcing his arrest (sadly, the YouTube video is geo-restricted and won’t play in the UK).

He told police: “I wanted other people to feel what I had gone through, and I stole the seats as a form of revenge.”

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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